Incentivizing garbage collection
Offering canned sardines in exchange for city residents to bring their garbage to the collectors is an interesting solution offered by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and one that should be supported if only to help reduce the city’s garbage problem.
According to Roberto Cabarrubias, former city councilor and now head of the city’s General Services Office, Mayor Osmeña told him of the plan which was patterned after a scheme implemented by a city in Brazil which offered eggs to those who brought garbage to their collectors.
The power of incentive can be quite persuasive, and if the plan pushes through — Cabarrubias said they will pursue it once they fix all their garbage trucks — it will be implemented in Barangay Lahug, one of the largest populated areas in Cebu City and home to the city’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms.
We see that the canned sardines incentive will draw out the urban poor households who see it as stretching their food budget, and they may even volunteer or offer to bring the garbage of other, more affluent households to the collectors, perhaps for a fee.
At the very least, it will spur people to bring their garbage more within the reach of collectors, but how this would work in the long term bears watching.
The mayor said this will help the city government cut down on spending by not having to buy new trucks and maintaining those units currently in use.
Presumably that’s just one of several solutions thought up by the Osmeña administration to deal with the city’s mounting garbage problem which had drawn complaints from residents living near the Inayawan landfill which reopened more than a year after it was closed by former mayor Michael Rama for violating the country’s Solid Waste Management law.
It had been announced early on that the Inayawan landfill will be operational for another two years, perhaps more than enough time to find another landfill within Cebu City or — and this is speculation — negotiate an agreement with the Cebu provincial government concerning their proposed landfill project in Carmen town.
Now back to Cebu City. As opposed to paying a tipping fee for accommodating the city’s garbage in a Consolacion landfill facility located a considerable distance away from the city — and which had cost millions of pesos of additional expenses in maintenance and repair of existing garbage trucks — Mayor Osmeña’s plan to privatize garbage collection is not just practical but likely the most feasible solution for now.
We hope that monitoring is in place to evaluate the performance of the private firm contracted to collect the garbage to avoid paying non-performers.
The landfill solution is still a long way off, but we hope for now at least that the city government’s solutions to expedite garbage collection do take off and help make the city a little cleaner.
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